Published on August 15th, 2014 | by gareth0
Many times when a film series reaches it”s third installment, it is out of ideas and running on fumes. The idea that if a film has spawned a successful sequel it must have a trilogy is nothing new in Hollywood, but far too many times the third films loses momentum and goes through the motions for one last payday for the cast and studio.
In “The Expendables 3” Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and company lead the all star cast with a mix of old and new in order to provide a more diverse yet not entirely satisfying third act of the retro action series.
Barney (Sylvester Stallone), leads the remains of his crew on a daring raid as the film opens to free one of his former members played by Wesley Snipes. The action is as intense as ever, but thanks to a PG-13 rating, is much more subdued than we have come to expect from the series.
As Barney and crew contend with age and injuries, it is leaned that a person long thought dead has become one of the biggest arms dealers in the world and has his own private army. What makes matters worse is that said dealer (Mel Gibson), has a very complicated history with Barney and The Expendables and as such this mission is very personal when he is hired to bring him to justice.
With a new crew in place, Barney sets out to settle the score, but soon finds out that complications arise, forcing the old and new crew to unite in a battle against overwhelming odds.
If this seems to be a fairly simplistic overview your right, as this is about as complex as this film gets. There is some effort to show chemistry between the players but backstories and character development are for the most part left out. Gibson on the other hand brings a great new dimension to the film as the backstory to his character as well as his motivations were very interesting and kept my attention in what otherwise could come off as a cartoony villain role.
Harrison Ford replaces Bruce Willis as their C.I.A. contact and brings gruff charm to the role of Drummer and seems to delight in being in on the action as do the new and returning cast.
The biggest issue was that it seemed more retrained than what we expect from the series. Part 2 had the epic airport battle and a great fistacuff finale. Part 3 lacks the intensity and urgency of previous films and the cast appears to be going through the motions, just happy for one more ride.
Stallone reportedly mentioned he had ideas for a 4th film which would be fine with me, but they need to get away from this PG 13 lite version and bring the swaggering, over the top action of the previous films back and fast as with an aging cast, this film seemed very out of date and lacking the retro nostalgia.
That being said, if you want some no-brainer fun, it is worthy of checking out.
3 stars out of 5.